This Week’s Crafting Fun

Posted: May 9, 2011 in Ramblings

This week I’ve taken a break from knitting, sort of, to do some dyeing experiments.  Thanks to some inventive Ravelry folks, I learned a technique for dyeing self-striping yarn.  This kind of yarn has been very big in the sock world, but difficult to find in other weights or other types of yarn.  My experiment was with Jamieson’s Shetland Spindrift, which happened to be the only white yarn I had around the house.  The yarn is wound onto plastic knitting looms, separating each color by an empty peg, and then each big ‘packet’ of yarn is dunked into a dye bowl (or you can brush on the dye with foam paintbrushes, which I’m never very good at).

This is how the yarn looked on the loom before microwaving.

This results in a yarn that goes about 10 garter stitch rows before changing color.  There was a little color contamination – you can see at the lower part of the blue, there is some green overlap, and at the right-hand part of the green, there is some yellow overlap.  Here is a fingerless glove I knit with that very yarn.

 

Too small, and the ruffle is too thick, but it shows the striping!

So that was pretty exciting.  But I don’t like Spindrift much (which is part of the reason I was willing to sacrifice it to the dye experiment), so I’m not going to bother with a second skein of the self-striping.  And frogging this glove to reclaim the yarn is probably pointless, because the thumb sleeve, cuff ribbing, and ruffle are all done with new strands of yarn – so I’d end up with a lot of fairly short pieces of yarn, no good.

Well, that was interesting and came out well (and now there is a new technique in my repertoire for the future).  For my next dye project, I wanted to satisfy an old longing – the desire to have red, and hot pink, and orange, all on the same skein.  Nobody seems to make this combo!  I wonder why?  (Rhetorical, facetious, snarky question.) 

Today I prepped my last five precious skeins of the now-discontinued Plymouth “Dye For Me” Merino Silk Cashmere yarn, and did them all in the same dye bath.  Since these are really big skeins, I soaked all 5 of them in the citric acid water for about 10 minutes (while I mixed up my dyes).  The five skeins had absorbed almost all the citric acid water, so I simply put one skein in the pot, squirted dye on and rubbed it in, laid the second skein in the pot, squirted dye on and rubbed it in, etc. until all 5 skeins were in the same big pot, and full of dye.  Then a 15-minute nuke and voila.

Hanging out to dry.

I only had Jacquard “Pink,” not “Hot Fuchsia” (which would have gotten me much closer to my real vision), but it was still a fairly intense pink.  I used the whole little jar!  The red is Fire Red and the orange is a combo of Fire Red and Sun Yellow.  It looks very ‘sunset’ to me, and I am going to make a shawl called the Hypernova with it.  Can’t show you a pic of Hypernova because it’s copyrighted.  I’ll put a pic up when there’s something of my own knitting to show you.  But since the skeins above are still outside drying, it’s going to be a while.  Stay tuned.

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